Use of Numerically Blinded Ratings of Perceived Exertion in Soccer: Assessing Concurrent and Construct Validity

in International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance
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Purpose: To examine the concurrent and construct validity of numerically blinded ratings of perceived exertion (RPEs). Methods: A total of 30 elite male youth soccer players (age 16.7 [0.5] y) were monitored during training and matches over a 17-wk in-season period. The players’ external loads were determined via raw 10-Hz global positioning system. Heart rate (HR) was collected continuously and expressed as Bannister and Edwards training impulses, and minutes >80% of the players predetermined the maximum HR by the Yo-Yo Intermittent Recovery Test Level 1. RPE was collected confidentially 10 to 15 min after training/matches using 2 methods: (1) a traditional verbal response to the 0 to 100 category-ratio “centiMax” scale (RPE) and (2) numerically blinded RPE centiMax scale (RPEblind) with the response selected manually via a 5 × 7-in tablet “slider.” The RPE and RPEblind were divided by 10 and multiplied by the duration to derive the sessional RPE. Linear mixed models compared ratings, and within-subject repeated-measures correlations assessed the sessional RPE versus HR and external load associations. Results: There were no differences between the RPE and RPEblind (0.19; 95% confidence intervals, −0.59 to 0.20 au, P = .326) or their session values (13.5; 95% confidence intervals, −17.0 to 44.0 au, P = .386), and the ratings were nearly perfectly correlated (r = .96). The associations between the sessional RPE versus HR and external load metrics were large to very large (r = .65–.81), with no differences between the RPE methods (P ≥ .50). The RPEblind also reduced verbal anchor clustering and integer bias by 11% and 50%, respectively. Conclusions: RPEblind demonstrated concurrent and construct validity versus the traditional method, and may be used in situations where practitioners have concerns regarding the authenticity of athlete ratings.

Lovell, Halley, Siegler, and Massard are with the School of Science and Health, Western Sydney University, Penrith, NSW, Australia. Halley, Wignell, and Massard are with Westfields Sports High School, Fairfield West, NSW, Australia. Coutts is with the University of Technology Sydney, Moore Park, NSW, Australia.

Lovell (R.Lovell@westernsydney.edu.au) is corresponding author.
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